Although this is the second book in a series, the book can be read as a stand-alone. I picked up this HQ Love Inspired Historical because it was a Christian fiction book...with a secret love child. Seriously, I wanted to know how the author (Penny Richards) could pull it off. I was really impressed with how well done the execution of a secret child in a religious-themed book turned out. I wanted to give it the full 5 stars, but a couple of things kept me from doing so.
All Roads Lead to Home
Gabe Gentry used to live entirely in pursuit of carefree pleasure. It cost him his relationship with his brother, and with the one woman who believed in him. Now, with newfound faith, he's coming home to Wolf Creek, Arkansas, hoping to find redemption and forgiveness, and maybe even a second chance at love.
Physician Rachel Stone never thought she'd lay eyes on Gabe again. After their brief time together, Gabe disappeared, leaving Rachel devastated and secretly pregnant with his son. His return stirs up her bitterness…and her attraction. But Gabe's already burned her once; how can she trust him again, now that her son's heart is on the line, as well?
First off, what I liked:
1. Female doctor in the 1870s -1880s as the female MC. She was damn capable too.
2. Secret love child in an inspirational....definitely no Mary Sues in this bunch of characters. Good choice in having the kid be eight years old - more bonding can be established by a new dad at this age back in that historical era.
3. Freaking honesty - this book was very character-driven due to the level of honesty and respect everyone had for each other. The plot did slow down to crawl in the middle of the book, but picked up steam once Gabe's mom came back into town.
4. I didn't know it was the second book in a series until a couple of chapters into the book. Yet I didn't need to read the first book to understand this book.
What I didn't like the book:
1. Rachel forgave Gabe loooooonnnnnngggggg before she forgave herself for having sex outside marriage. It was a bit repetitive to read over and over how Rachel berated herself for sinning, yet gave Gabe her forgiveness willingly when he stated quite clearly he wanted to be a big part of his son's life.
2. Cast of characters towards the last 1/3 of book gave off sequel bait vibes.
3. One of the bad guys in the books was Native American....yeah, could have done without that.
I think I will pick up the first book once my TBR pile goes down a little bit more. Recommend.